What should Republican Senators think after Wednesday's impeachment manager presentations? How will they justify acquitting the man who sent a mob to stop the vote counting?
Marching orders. First, they watched a video of President Donald Trump enraging his supporters.
Evidence that will tear your stomach apart. Then they sat moment by moment by deconstructing the layoff of the US Capitol building where they work. They saw death, violence, fear and destruction.
You push yourself in. They saw video surveillance of the teeming mob breaking windows and entering the legislature's inner sanctuary, a place where lawmakers are supposed to be safe.
The goal. They listened to a montage by Trump of repeated criticism of Vice President Mike Pence for refusing to reject the electoral college results in favor of current President Joe Biden.
The evacuations. Then there was a CCTV video showing Pence being chased out of the Senate Chamber when the mob "Hang Mike Pence!"
Calls for help. They heard the Capitol police screaming on the radio for assistance as they were overrun.
Hiding from rioters. They listened to the desperate whispers of aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, barricaded in an indoor office calling for the Capitol Police, when the rioters knocked on the doors in the background.
The crime. "The Vice President, the Speaker of the House, first and second in line in the presidency, were performing their constitutional duties and presiding over the electoral certificate. They were put at risk because President Trump envisioned his own wants and needs. President Trump appealed to them Aim for the back and his mob broke into the Capitol to chase them, "said Virgin Islands Del. Stacey Plaskett who put the uprising together on video. Audio and a map showing how close the uprising got to the senators who are now supposed to be an unbiased jury. Look here.
Senators are supposed to be a jury. If this were a court they would all be dismissed as impossibly biased.
"Most citizens do not know how close these rioters have come to you," California MP Eric Swalwell told the senators. "As you walked down that hallway, I paced. You were only 58 paces from where the mob had gathered and where the police rushed to stop them."
They saw a video in which the police created a physical barrier to protect them from the rioters.
Saved from the crowd. They saw Utah Senator Mitt Romney, once the standard-bearer of the GOP, who was turned over by hero cop Eugene Goodman. And Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, flanked by his security detail, ran back and forth to avoid the crowd.
What now? The question is whether Republican senators, after seeing this threat created by their president, will change their conscience or vote the way Trump wants.
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Witness for the prosecution
We all know the mob broke laws and threatened democracy. The question at the center of this process is how exactly Trump is responsible for their actions.
Trump chose not to testify on his second impeachment trial because he feared possible self-blame.
He didn't have to.
The House impeachment managers used his earlier words against him on Wednesday.
Create the basis. We all lived months before and after the election, with Trump destroying confidence in the democratic process, pretending to be fraudulent and encouraging supporters to contest it. Stop the theft. "
Public admission. The Democratic executives, who set out their cases on the first day of two days to expel him from future office, woven these public statements and frank facts into a damned trace of the former president's conduct before the mob took over.
Months of preparation. To see his tweets and remarks put right the wrath of his supporters over the pre-election summer and fall, culminating in the January 6 rally before the mob stormed the Capitol was doomed.
Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean interspersed the video of Trump's January 6 speech and other comments with analysis in a full incitement note.
She said Trump told supporters to "fight" 20 times that day as he encouraged them to stop phony theft of the elections.
He told them to be "peaceful" before sending them on to Capitol Hill.
Seeing Trump's words for the first time. Senators busy counting the votes at the time may not have seen the president unleash his mob on them.
And Republican senators now judging him may not have heard him turn on Pence when it became clear his vice president wasn't going to reject the election results for his boss. You may not have heard the anger of Trump supporters at the GOP.
Republicans who oppose Trump. You probably knew how he targeted GOP officials in Georgia after they didn't fake votes to help him win that state.
You probably know that if you vote against the former president, he will push his supporters to put political goals on their backs.
If this were a secret conspiracy, the scale of opposition to an American election would be too great to believe. But Trump didn't try to hide what he was doing. And that's the weirdest part of all.
Shattered, but without a change of opinion
CNN's Manu Raju spoke with Republican senators one morning, one afternoon, and one final evening recess in the presentations.
He wrote that some of them were shocked but not convinced to condemn.
"Just like I was before," Indiana Senator Mike Braun told Raju when asked if he was shaken. He added, "If you think the process is flawed at all," it is difficult to vote for a conviction.
"Who wouldn't be" shocked? asked Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, according to Raju. But Johnson blames the rioters – not Trump.
John Cornyn, Texas Senator, usually very talkative, said to Raju, "I have nothing for you now."
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is likely to vote for a conviction, said "the evidence that has been presented so far is pretty damned."
But the clear suggestion is that Senate Republicans aren't persuaded to condemn Trump. Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, a member of the GOP leadership, compared the summer protests against the police with those of January 6 at the Capitol.
"Well, you know, you have a summer where people all over the country are doing similar things. I don't know what the other side of Seattle and Portland and other places will show, but you will see similar types of tragedies there too" , he said. Blunt is up for re-election in 2022.
When asked if he was shocked by the video, Blunt said, "Well, I've seen parts of it and spoken to the police about it. So it's obviously a tragic day for the country, and not." anyway, what we want people all over the world to see in the united states. "
Uproar from before. And whiskey
Today lawmakers watch impeachment executives argue that Trump, refuting his loss of the election, sparked an uprising against the country. A partisan mob inspired by him tried to stop counting the votes. The opposite of that is George Washington, who raised a militia and rode with the troops to put down the so-called whiskey rebellion against the federal tax agency.
Farmers and distillers resentful of an Alexander Hamilton-sponsored excise tax had ignored the tax, which was cheaper for large producers. The difference of opinion lasted for years.
In 1794 the anti-tax farmers got into an armed conflict with the landowner, slave owner and tax collector John Neville. The anti-tax rebels attacked his home after he escaped and then marched into Pittsburgh, although some reports say they were too drunk to take the city. Washington, despite seeking diplomacy, set up a militia and the uprising eventually stalled.
Only two rebels were found guilty of treason and Washington eventually pardoned them. However, opposition to Hamilton's federal tax policy helped Thomas Jefferson win the presidency a few years later in 1800, and the start of anti-federal Democratic Republicans. US political parties have changed and evolved since then.